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Turkey Farming.
Turkey Farming.

Turkey Farming Information For Beginners

Turkey Farming Information:

Turkey Farming

Turkey Farming is the best alternative to chicken farming. Turkey farming is gaining popularity for its best profits day by day. Turkeys are suitable for commercial egg, meat productions and can also be raised as pets. Turkeys are very beautiful and can increase the beauty of your home. And for commercial livestock business purpose, turkeys are highly meat productive, not suitable for commercial egg production. Turkeys are grown very faster and suitable for slaughter purpose earlier like broiler chickens and pigs. Warm weather suitable for Turkey farming, like chicken farming. Before you plan Turkey farming you should have a complete idea of their raising system. Commercial turkey business can earn you good profits with proper care and management.

Turkey Breeds

  • Beltsville small white.
  • Black.
  • Bourbon Red.
  • Bronze.
  • Narrangansett.
  • Royal Palm.
  • Slate.
  • White Holland turkey.

Economic parameters in Turkey Farming

Commercial Turkey Farm.
Commercial Turkey Farm.
  • Male-Female Ration = 1:5.
  • Average Egg Weight = 65 grams.
  • Average day old young one weight = 50 grams.
  • Age at Sexual Maturity = 30 weeks.
  • Incubation Period= 28 days.
  • Average body weight at 20 weeks = 4.5 to 5(female) and 7 to 8 (Male).
  • Egg production period = 24 we
  • Marketable Age= 14 to 15 weeks(Male) and 17 to 18 weeks(Female).
  • Marketable Weight = 7.5 kg(Male) and 5.5 Kg (Female).
  • Food Efficiency = 2.7 to 2.8.9.
  • Average Food Consumption up to marketable age: 24 to 26 kg(Male) and 17 to 19 kg( Female).
  • Mortality during brooding period= 3 to 4%. 

Turkey Farming Management Practices

  1. The incubation period in Turkey Farming:

Turkeys incubation period is 28 days. And there are two methods of incubation one is Natural incubation with broody hens and other is Artificial incubation.

  1. Natural Incubation:
  2. Natural incubations are good brooders and the broody hen can hatch 10-15 numbers of eggs. Good clean eggs with good eggshell and shape should be placed for brooding to get 60-80% hatchability and healthy young ones.
  3. Artificial Incubation: In artificial incubation, eggs are hatched with help of incubators. The atmosphere is set as follow;

     Temperature    –   Relative humidity

  • Setter 99.5°F       –         61 to 61%
  • Hatcher 99.5°F   –         85 to 90%.

The turkey eggs should be turned at hourly intervals daily.  Turkey eggs need to be collected on a frequent basis to avoid soiling and breakage and to get better hatchability.

Brooding in Turkey Farming

0-4 weeks period in Turkey is called as the brooding period. As per season, in winter brooding period will be up to 5-6 weeks. According to the thumb rule, turkey young ones need double hover space as compared to chicken. Brooding day old young ones can be done using infra-red bulbs or gas brooder and traditional brooding systems.

 Requirements During Brooding Period

  • The Floor space requirement for 0-4 weeks is 1.5 Sq.Ft per bird.
  • The Brooder house should be ready at least two days before the arrival one young one.
  • The little material should be spread in a circular manner with a diameter of 2 meters.
  • A fence of 1 feet height should be provided, to prevent the young ones from wandering.
  • The temperature should be maintained around 950F followed weekly reductions of 50F per week up to 4 weeks of age.
  • You should use shallow waterers.

The average Mortality rate is 6-10% during the first four weeks of life. Young ones by nature are reluctant to eat and drink in the first few days of life, primarily because of bad eyesight and nervousness. Hence, they must be force-fed.

Feeding of  Turkeys

You should feed turkeys with the healthy and nutritious food they promote good growth and production. The food you feed should be balanced and nutritious. Each turkey needs 3.25 K of feed to gain 1 kg of body weight. All types of turkey’s feeds are available in markets, and you can add some extra amount of protein to feed. Along with feed, you should provide them sufficient amount of fresh clean water.

Force Feeding Turkey farming

The major problem for early mortality of young ones is starving. You should take special care for supplying feed and water. In force-feeding, milk should be fed @ 100 ml/1 liter of water and one boiled egg must be given @ one/young ones up to 15 days. This will compensate the protein and energy requirements of the young ones. Young ones can be attracted to the feed by gentle tapping of the container with the fingers.  Placing colored pebbles in feeders and waterers will also attract young ones towards them. Since turkeys are fond of greens, some chopped green leaves should also be added to the feed to improve the feed intake.

Litter Materials in Turkey Farming

Litter materials used for brooding should be wood shavings sawdust, paddy husk, and chop saw etc. The thickness of the litter material should be 2 inches at the beginning and may increase to 3 to 4 inches in course of time by gradual addition. The litter should be turned over frequently to prevent caking.

Rearing Systems in Turkey farming

Turkeys are used under free-range or intensive systems.

  1. Free Range system of rearing:

Advantages:

  • It reduces the feed cost by fifty percent.
  • Low investment.
  • Cost-benefit ratio is high.

 Free Range System of Turkey Farming

Free Range Turkey.
Free Range Turkey.
  • One acre of fenced land can be used to rear 200 to 250 adult turkeys. You provide shelter at night at the rate of 3 to 4 Sq.Ft per bird. Plant trees for shade and cooler environment.
  • They should be protected from predators during scavenging. Follow necessary steps to reduce the incidence of parasite infection.
  • Turkeys are good scavengers they eat all earthworms, small insects, snails, kitchen water, and termites, which are rich in protein and that will reduce the feed cost by fifty percent.
  • In case of calcium deficiency in free-ranging birds, the calcium supplement should be provided ( 250gm per week per bird in the form of the oyster shell).
  • Ten percent of feed can be substituted with vegetable waster to reduce the cost of feed.
  • Free-range system turkeys highly susceptible to internal and external parasites. Deworming and dipping are essential to increase the growth of birds.
  1. Intensive System of rearing:

      Advantages:

  • Improved production efficiency.
  • Better management and diseases control.

Housing in Turkey Farming

  • Houses protect turkeys from sun, rain, wind, predators.
  • In the hotter parts of the country, the long axis of the house should run from east to west.
  • The recommended distance between the house should be 20 mt and the young stock house should be at 50 meters to 100 meters away from the adult house.
  • Open house width should not exceed 9 meters.
  • An overhang of one meter should be provided to avoid the rainwater splash.
  • Flooring should be made of concrete with moisture proof.

In case of deep litter system, the general management conditions are like that of chicken but care should be taken to provide adequate floor, waterer and feeder space to accommodate the large bird.

Catching and handling of turkeys: Turkeys of all age group taken from one place to another with the help of a stick. To catch turkeys you need dark room so that they can be picked with both legs without any injury. Turkeys should not be hanged more than 3 to 4 minutes.

Water, Feed, and Floor Space Requirements in Turkey Farming

AgeFloor Space(Sq.ft)Feeder Space(cm)Waterer Space(cm)
0 to 4 weeks1.252.51.5
5 to 16 weeks2.55.02.5
16 to 29 weeks4.06.52.5
Turkey Breeder5.07.52.5

Visitors are restricted to the Turkey houses.

Debeaking: Young ones should be debeaked to control feather picking and cannibalism. Debeaking can be done at day old or 3 to 5 weeks of age. Remove the break at about one half the distance from nostril to the tip of the beak.

Desnooding:

Desnooding is the removal of the snood or dewbill, this is done to prevent the head injuries from picking and fighting.  For the newborn turkey of age on the day, snood can remove by figure pressure.  For 3 weeks snood is removed using sharp scissors.

Toe clipping:

Toe clipping is done at the day old by removing the tip of the toe just to the inside of the outer most toe pad including the entire toenail.

Feed:

There are two types of feeding: Mash Feeding and pellet feeding.

  • The energy, protein, vitamin and mineral requirements for turkeys are high when compared to chicken.
  • Proteins requirements for turkeys depends on their gender, so they must be reared separately.
  • You should feed them only in the feeder.
  • Change in the diet should be done gradually.
  • Turkeys should be supplied with clean and fresh water regularly.
  • In summer season water supply should be more.
  • You should feed turkeys only in cooler parts of the day during summer.
  • To avoid leg weakness, provide shell grit at the rate of 30 to 40 gm per day per bird.

Green feeding in Turkey farming:

In the intensive system, green can be fed up to 50% of the total diet on dry mash basis. Fresh Lucerne is the best green for turkeys at all ages. Desmanthus and Stylo are also best green fed to turkeys to reduce feed cost.

Body Weight and Feed Consumption in Turkey Farming

Age in weeksAverage Body Weight(Kg)Total Feed consumption(kg)Cumulative feed efficiency
 MaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemale
Up to 4th week0.720.630.950.811.31.3
Up to 8th week2.361.903.993.491.81.7
Up to 12th week4.723.8511.349.252.42.4
Up to 16th week7.265.5319.8615.692.82.7
Up to 20th week9.626.7528.2623.133.42.9

Breeding Practices of Turkey Farming

Turkey Breeding Practices.
Turkey Breeding Practices.

Natural Mating:

The strut is a mating behavior of male turkey, where it spreads the wings and makes a peculiar sound frequently. In natural mating, the male: female ratio should be of 1:5 for medium type turkeys and 1:3 for large types of turkeys. Each adult female turkey can produce 40 to 50 young ones on average. Adult males are rarely used for mating after the first year due to reduced fertility. In turkeys there is a tendency to develop an affinity towards a female, so we must change the adult males for every 15 days.

Artificial Insemination in Turkey farming:

Artificial insemination is used to increase the fertility of turkey flock throughout the season.

Insemination of hens:

  • Artificial insemination should be carried when the flock attains 8 to 10% egg production.
  • We should inseminate hens for every three weeks with 0.025 to 0.030 ml of undiluted semen.
  • After 12 weeks of the season, it may be better to inseminate every fortnight.
  • Inseminate the hen 5-6’ O clock in the evening.
  • The average fertility should be 80 to 85% over a 16-week breeding season. 

Common Diseases in Turkeys

DiseaseCauseSymptomsPrevention
ArizonosisSalmonella arizonaPoults unthrifty and eye blindness. May affect at the age if 3-4 weeks.Elimination of infected breeder flock and hatchery fumigation and sanitation
Blue comb diseaseCoronavirusWatery droppings , loss of weight, Depression, darkening of head and skin.Depopulation and decontamination of the farm.
Chronic Respiratory DiseaseMycoplasma gallisepticumCoughing, gurgling, sneezing, nasal exudates.Secure Mycoplasma free stock.
ErysipelasErysipelothrixrhusiopathidaeDiscoloration of parts of face , sudden lose, swollen snood,Vaccination.
Fowl CholeraPasturellamultocidaPurplish head, greenish yellow droppings, sudden death.Sanitation and disposal of dead birds.
Fowl poxPox virusSmall yellow blisters in comb and wattkes, and scab formation.Vaccination.
Haemorrhagic enteritisVirusOne or more dead birds.Vaccination.

 

 

Infectious synovitisMycoplasma gallisepticumLameness, breast blisters, Enlarged hocks, and foot pads.Purchase clean stock.
Infectious sinusitisBacteriaNasal discharge, swollen sinuses, and coughing.Secure young ones from disease-free breeders.
MycotoxicosisFungal originHaemorrhages, Pale, fatty liver, and kidneys.Avoid feed spoilage.
New Castle diseaseParamyxo VirusTwisting of neck, paralysis , gasping, wheezing, and soft-shelled eggs. 

Vaccination.

ParatyphoidSalmonella pullorumDiarrhea in poults.Prevention and flock sanitation.
Turkey CoryzaBordetellaaviumSnicking, rales, and discharge of excessive nasal mucus.Vaccination.
CoccidiosisCoccidiasppBloody diarrhea, and loss of weight.Proper sanitation and management of litter.
Turkey Venereal diseaseMycoplasma meleagrisLowered fertility, and hatchability.Strict sanitation.

 Vaccination Schedule

Day OldND-B1 Strain.
4th and 5th-weekFowl Pox.
6th-weekND-(R2B).
8 to 10 weeksCholera Vaccine.

Marketing in Turkey Farming

Turkey farming and meat demand rate are increasing day by day. With proper care and management practices, the turkey becomes suitable for slaughtering purpose within their 6 months of age. At this age, they weight around 10 to15 kg. Female turkey takes slightly more time and they weigh less compared to male. You can sell your turkeys everywhere, you can choose local markets and some large supermarkets.

Commercial turkey farming can be good business to earn profits for new and existing farmers. Before you plan to start Turkey Farming you can visit some farms directly and learn about turkeys and their rearing system.

Turkey Eggs

Turkey Eggs (Pic Via Hamilton Farm)
Turkey Eggs (Pic Via Hamilton Farm)

Turkey starts laying eggs from the 30th week of age and its production period is for 6 months from the point of lay.

  • Turkey hens can lay 60 to 100 eggs annually if it is provided with proper feeding and artificial lightning management.
  • Approximately 70% of eggs are laid in the afternoon.
  • The turkey eggs are tinted and weigh about 85grams.
  • The egg is noticeably pointed at one end with the strong shell.
  • The protein, lipid carbohydrate and mineral content of turkey egg are 13%, 12%, 1.7% and 0.8% respectively. The cholesterol is 16 to 24 mg/gm of yolk.

Turkey Meat

The protein, fat, energy value of turkey meat is 24%, 6.6%, 162 calories per 100 grams of meat. Mineral-like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc and sodium are present.  Turkey meat is rich in amino acids and vitamins like niacin, Vitamin B6, and B12. And rich in unsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids and low in cholesterol.

Read about Tilapia Fish Farming.

Read about Poultry Farming.

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